Credit Suisse private banking appoints senior trio amid restructure

The firm hires Song Kun from Merrill Lynch as senior client partner and adds Jimmy Lee and Lee Chin Lit from Clariden Leu, while reorganising its internal structure to retain talent.
Credit Suisse private banking appoints senior trio amid restructure

Credit Suisse has bolstered its regional private banking business by announcing three newly created senior positions as it strives to implement an organisational restructure designed to retain talent.

The firm has appointed Song Kun from Merrill Lynch (Asia-Pacific) as managing director and senior client partner for Greater China, based in Hong Kong. She reports to Anna Wong, the firm’s market area head for Greater China who joined recently, in news broken by AsianInvestor.

Song started at Credit Suisse in early February, having previously worked as managing director of investments for Merrill’s private banking and investment group, where she was responsible for originating and maintaining ultra-high-net-worth client relationships for the China market and advising on multi-asset class investment strategy.

A spokesman for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in Asia confirmed that Song left in the second half of last year, and that no direct replacement would be made.

Separately, AsianInvestor has learned that An Hui Ling and a team of relationship managers covering Greater China for Credit Suisse out of Singapore have quit.

It is understood they are headed to Pictet, to join Credit Suisse’s former Asia-Pacific COO Anuj Khanna, who started at the Suisse boutique as head of wealth management for South Asia this January. A spokesman for Pictet declined to comment in response to AsianInvestor queries.

Further, Credit Suisse announced that after completion of its merger with subsidiary Clariden Leu on April 2, Jimmy Lee had re-joined as a managing director, with responsibility for integration of the business. He reports to Francesco de Ferrari, head of private banking for Asia-Pacific.

Lee had been Asia-Pacific chief executive of Clariden Leu since 2009, before which he was head of Southeast Asia/South Asia at Deutsche Bank private wealth management.

Similarly Lee Chin Lit, who was managing director and head of Southeast Asia at Clariden Leu and worked with Lee at Deutsche PWM, has rejoined Credit Suisse as managing director and sector head in the Indonesia market. He reports to Johanes Oeni, market leader for Indonesia.

In all, more than 70 staff from Clariden Leu have joined Credit Suisse’s Asia-Pacific franchise, with over 70% client-facing staff including relationship managers, product investment specialists and investment consultants.

At the end of last year Credit Suisse had some 360 relationship managers across Asia Pacific, the majority shared between Hong Kong and Singapore. The Clariden Leu additions will be reflected in subsequent quarters, with a spokeswoman confirming CS had hired more than 60 RMs in 2011.

The Swiss bank is also in the process of completing the acquisition of HSBC’s private banking business in Japan, which is due to take place by June this year.

Credit Suisse has been restructuring its front office in a drive to define frontline leadership and management career paths more clearly, in line with its global model. It follows a restructuring exercise in 2010, when it scrapped the North Asia and Southeast Asia head posts in favour of having 10 heads of geographic markets or regions amid a management restructure.

Credit Suisse has now reorganised into four market areas: Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia; Greater China; emerging Asia, including the Philippines, Thailand and non-resident Indians; and developed Asia, referring to its domestic businesses in Australia and Japan.

Leading Southeast Asia is Tee Fong Seng, whose market leaders are Jullie Kan (Malaysia), Oeni (Indonesia) and Benjamin Cavalli (Singapore).

Wong is market area head for Greater China, with market leaders Vivian Chan, Alex Ng, Orchid Yuan and Grace Lin.

The emerging Asia team is led by Martin Kuenzler. His market leaders are Angela Bow (Philippines) and Vish Venugopal (NRI), while Liao Chung Hui is acting market leader for Thailand.

For developed Asia, Edward Jewell-Tait is head of private banking Australia, while Junya Tani is head of private banking Japan.

The only senior market head departure has been James Hong, who was location head for Hong Kong but retired at the end of January this year, with Wong taking over his responsibilities.

“We need to strengthen our capacity to retain talent, to place the right people in the right roles and better leverage their strengths,” explains de Ferrari. “We want to build a business model that is efficient and scalable for long-term sustainability, and to build a successful team culture.”

The career path for senior client roles is now defined from relationship manager, to senior RM, to expert RM to senior client partner, with qualifying criteria based on assets and revenues contribution, depth of industry experience, networks, experience with UHNW client advisory and cross-divisional collaboration. The new parts of this are senior client partner and expert RM.

Management progression is now laid out from team leader to sector head to market leader to market area head. Again, qualification criteria are based on experience and management skills, network, strategic capabilities, senior client coverage and cross-divisional experience. Sector head is the addition, reporting to a market leader and overseeing team leaders and their teams.

“By introducing a sector head role in the management track, it will help in building management depth and organisation scalability, and better define a career path for team leaders as our regional franchise continues to expand,” adds de Ferrari, noting that the new structure should be fully in place within the next few months.

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